Perhaps the first thing you may notice about your map is that districts are colored. Closer examination reveals that the counties and other geographies that underlay the districts are also shaded. These colors are intended to provide you with clues and tools that enable you to draw legal redistricting plans.
The Map Legend button on the lower right corner of the map provides a legend of the information displayed about the districts and the underlying geography. This information is described below in more detail. Essentially, there is information about the underlying geographies that you are creating districts out of and information about the districts themselves.
Clicking on the Set Map Layers icon reveals the Choose Map Layers popup window. You have the following options
available data in each state and it is possible to turn off the shadings by selecting "None" which may be useful if you wish to create printable maps.
Typically, the underlying geography may be shaded by census and
political data. In the example given here for a version of the software
used in Virginia:
You can see what the shading for the geographies means by clicking the Map Legend button in the lower right hand corner of the map editing area.
The second pull down box in the Choose Map Layers dialog box allows you to change how the districts are shaded. By default, districts are usually shaded by their total population -- and how close they are to the ideal population for that legislative body. (The ideal population is the total population of the state divided by the number of districts in the legislative body.) The administrator may enable districts to be shaded by other values, such as the districts' compactness and contiguity status. You may also choose to have no shading for the districts, which may be useful if you wish to create printable maps).
You can see what the shading for the districts means by clicking the Map Legend button in the lower right hand corner of the map editing area.
Reference layers are geographies that can be displayed, but cannot be used directly to edit districts. You can follow the boundaries of reference layers by selecting editable geography contained within them, so they can be useful to guide you indirectly during your map making. A reason why reference layers cannot be used to directly edit districts is that that they are not guaranteed to be nested within the hierarchical geographies of the database. Allowing editing of non-nested geographies would significantly slow the performance of the software.
There are two types of reference layers, those that are editable geographies and those that are of other existing maps, be they redistricting plans or community layers.
plan chooser. From here, you can select a redistricting plan for a legislative body or a community map that either you are privately working on or that other users have shared.
Once you have selected a plan type, the Select Plan to Display as Reference Layer will populate with the available plans. The plans can be sorted by the user name and plan name by clicking on the column headers, and you use the navigation buttons at the bottom of the plan list to display additional plans.
When you are satisfied with the shading of your map editing environment and the layer that you wish to display, click on the OK button to return to mapping.
If you have selected a reference layer, its name will be displayed in the Road Display Dialog Box located in the upper right hand corner of the mapping area.
To move the view area in a north/south/east/west direction, use the
pan tool located in the upper left hand corner of the mapping area.
You may also use the mouse to pan. To do so
Displayed underneath the districts, editable geographies, and reference layers is a map layer of roads, cities, and other features that provides helpful context to a mapping session. The administrator may make various maps available to you: Open Street Map (or osm), Google Maps, and Bing Maps. Select a preferred street map by clicking on the appropriate button on the Road Display Dialog Box located in the upper right hand corner of the mapping area. There are licensing restrictions on Google and Bing, so your administrator may choose not to make these street maps available.
You can increase or decrease the transparency level of the districts and the editable geographies by moving the roads transparency slider in the Road Display Dialog Box.
If you have selected a reference layer, its name will be displayed in the Road Display Dialog Box.
There are two sets of mapping tools available in two tabs at the top of the mapping area. The Map Editing tools are for selecting and assigning editable geographies to districts. The District Tools are additional mapping utilities. Select tool set by clicking on the desired tab.
There are four tools that are available in either tool set, the Pan Tool and Info Tool, which are for navigating around the map.
The Map Editing tools are for selecting and assigning editable geographies to districts. The mapping task is divided into two steps. First, editable geographies are selected and second they are assigned to districts. There are two different types of tools for this task, selection tools and assignment tools. While selection and assignment tools can be simultaneously selected, it is important to remember these are two different types of tools. If the software appears to be behaving unexpectedly, it can be often useful to review the selection and assignment tools.
The three Select Tools enable you to select geographies for assignment to a
district. You can select individual editable geographies or collections of editable geographies, depending on which tool you use. If you attempt to select a large number of geographies with
any selection tool, you will receive an error message to select fewer
When working at the census block level, it is often easy to
select (and fail to select) many geographically small zero-population
road and water segments, so be careful when working at this level. Often, a clue that something has happened is that you will be warned that a district is non-contiguous. We provide additional District Tools to help you with this, what can be at times, tedious task.
You can create a free district number by three methods:
You may wish to draw a plan that minimizes the number of times districts split geographies, such as counties, communities, or districts for other legislative bodies. The Show Splits and Generate Splits Report are useful tools to draw districts that or any boundary that can be shown as a reference layer.